Sparkle left us a week and a day ago today, and ever since, the cat blogosphere has been in mourning. So today, instead of tears of sadness, let’s spread tears of joy for a life well lived. Sparkle was a small cat, never weighing much more than six pounds and often less, but her presence on the internet was larger than life. Any big cat would have envied her influence.
Sparkle’s beginnings were, to be honest, not humble. She was a purebred Somali cat who was privileged enough to know her exact birthday, who her parents were, and most importantly, that she was wanted from birth. Eventually she came to learn that so many cats were far less fortunate than she was, and she made the choice to fight for them, to write about them on her blog, spread the word about them through social media and to ask for donations for them. Often she encouraged her human to open up her own pocketbook and help out kitties in need.
But let’s start at the beginning. When Sparkle first came home to Los Angeles, she almost instantly became a blogging kitty. And she was just a kitten. Here she is at five months. Does she look a little like anyone you know?
At first her blog was just a monthly diary of the goings-on at her house.
But soon enough she realized there was a need to offer cat advice — from a cat’s perspective, so she began her cat-to-cat advice column. A few months later she also began reviewing books about cats and reviewing cat items. Back in 2003, 2004 and 2005, this was a novelty. Cats were barely a blip on the internet and blogging cats? Practically nonexistent.
Sparkle set out to change that — and she did! When she discovered that there were other cat blogs developing, and that the Cat Blogosphere had formed, she already had several accomplishments of note: she had become an award-winning model, with a photo earning top prize in a Cats USA competition, her blog had appeared in a book by Yanik Silver, Moonlighting on the Internet, and she had already begun promoting cat rescues via social media, by helping spread the word about Winging Cat Rescue on her MySpace account. Sparkle was a pioneer.
By the time Sparkle had found Twitter, the Cat Blogosphere, and so many of her friends, she was getting ready for her next accomplishment: she became an author. She had two books of her cat-to-cat advice published in her life time, and at the time of her death she had two more partially written and left unfinished.
But whether she was helping raise money for World Vets after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, saving the life of one special kitty, or interviewing Jackson Galaxy, Sparkle always kept it real and down to earth. Maybe she got some help on that from her roommates Boodie, and especially Binga. Sparkle mostly saved her catitude for humans, those creatures who were born to serve kitties but who don’t always realize it, and for any organization or legislator who did anything to harm cats in general.
Over the course of her lifetime, Sparkle wrote over 2100 blog posts and two books, was featured on wall calendars 11 years in a row, and her image will live on in the cards, mugs and other items in her Zazzle store. She befriended hundreds of cats on the internet, and had a pawful of special pals. She had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, and shared her bounty with her readers — it wasn’t so much generosity as she felt it was the least she could do to give back after receiving so much.
Sparkle’s legacy will live on, beginning with the commenthon attached to this memorial service. One of Sparkle’s favorite cat rescues and sanctuaries was Tabby’s Place, the Ringoes, NJ organization that works so hard to help cats in desperate situations. Many of their residents are special needs… and they do get adopted! This is a very special place, and Sparkle’s human has pledged $1 for each comment on this blog post, from now until the end of Labor Day weekend, Monday, September 1, at Midnight Pacific Time, up to $500 (you are also welcome to make your own donation to this special group). So please share your favorite memories of Sparkle below, or wish her well on her journey to… where ever she may be going. We all have different beliefs, spiritual or not, but there is one thing for sure — Sparkle did her best to make this world a better one for cats, and for that, she will live on in our hearts.
See all of Summer’s merch at her Designercat Shop, available on Zazzle.